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Born: 1894, Leeds
Address: 27 Baildon Road, Woodbottom, Baildon
Parents: Mark & Minnie, nee Leaf
Siblings: Eliza, John, Richard
Occupation: Railway carriage greaser (1911)
Rank: Sgt
Medals/awards: D.C.M.
Rolls of Honour:
Regiment: R.F.A.
Mark Bell
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Mark Bell was born in 1894, the son of Mark Bell and his wife Minnie, nee Leaf. At the time of the 1911 census, Minnie had been widowed and Mark was living in lodgings and working as a railway carriage greaser. In November of 1911 Minnie married William James Clegg in Baildon which started Mark’s association with the district. On 8 September 1916, the Shipley Times & Express reported: “Sgt Mark Bell of 27 Baildon Road, Woodbottom, became the fourth Baildon man to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. “He is in the R.F.A. – trench mortar section – and has served 12 years with the colours. “The citation from Lieut Col H Alexander spoke of ‘conspicuous gallantry, devotion to duty and indifference to danger during operations in June and July 1916. ‘The services of this NCO in the preparation of the position was
invaluable. That it was completed in the very short time available was largely due to his unfailing energy and resource. ‘He was conspicuous on one particular occasion for his determination and coolness in bringing two heavy mortars with their equipment by hand across the open under machine gun and shell fire. ‘He also volunteered and did defuse some heavy trench mortar shell which had fallen short and constituted a danger to the infantry in the trenches under heavy shell fire.’ “The other Baildon men given the award were Cpl William Ellison, Long Royd; Sgt J Ingham, St John
Street, Charleston (since killed), and Gunner S Gelder of West Grove.” On 1 December the paper noted that Mark had been welcomed home on leave by his former school: “Sgt Mark Bell of 27 Baildon Road, Woodbottom, who some time ago was awarded the D.C.M., has received from the teaching staff and scholars at the Saville Green Council School, Leeds, which he attended as a boy, a gift in the form of a handsome gold signet ring. “In a letter accompanying the present, which is intended as a small esteem of appreciation of Sgt Bell’s conspicuous bravery, the headmaster, Mr E Rowe, writes: ‘My scholars, staff and myself hope
you will long live to wear this gift and that like Aladdin’s wonderful ring it will at least conjure up at any time dear old Saville Green School and pleasant memories with it.’ Six months later, on 15 June, there was a less happy report: “Mrs Clegg (his mother had remarried) of Baildon Road, Woodbottom, received intimation on Sunday morning that her son, Sgt Mark Bell of the RFA, was in hospital in the South England, suffering from wounds in the neck and hands. “Sgt Bell joined the army a few months before the outbreak of war and was soon on active service at the scene of hostilities. He has seen much hard fighting and was awarded the D.C.M. some time since for gallantry on the battlefield. “A brother, Pte R Bell, was recently slightly wounded and Sgt Bell’s stepfather in in training at Clipstone Camp.”